Anthony Johnson Believes Bellator Is On Par With The UFC
Anthony Johnson feels excited ahead of his Bellator debut, set for April 16th at Bellator 257 against Yoel Romero in the Light Heavyweight World Grand Prix.
Johnson parted ways with the UFC last year to sign with Bellator. He spent roughly eight years with his former promotion, struggling to manage weight at welterweight and middleweight, before eventually finding his comfort zone at light heavyweight, where he challenged for the title on two occasions, losing both times to Daniel Cormier.
“Signing with Bellator it was just a new beginning for me,” Johnson said. “I had a lot of fun in the UFC, I give all of my credit for the most part to the UFC because the world wouldn’t know who ‘Rumble’ Johnson was or is if it wasn’t for the UFC. So I give all of them credit. I wish we all could be getting them fat cheques like the NFL players and the NBA players, but it is what it is, I always preach that.”
Bellator And The UFC
Earlier this month, Bellator announced an eight-man light heavyweight tournament, featuring the champion Vadim Nemkov, former kingpin Ryan Bader, Lyoto Machida, Corey Anderson, Dovletdzhan Yagshimuradov, Phil Davis, Romero, and Johnson. While ‘Rumble’ is set to face the ‘Soldier of God’ in the quarter-finals, he is looking forward to the tough competition in Bellator, which he believes is on par with the UFC.
“I’m just ready to go and fight,” Johnson stated. “I look forward to the competition that’s out there. I think we can compete with the UFC with what we have. A lot of people think that just because the Bellator promotion isn’t what the UFC promotion is that the fighters aren’t the same calibre, and there’s always levels to everything. Every business, every promotion. But Bellator is no joke.”
Michael Chandler made a stunning debut in the UFC by stopping Dan Hooker in the first round at UFC 257. Lauding him for his brilliant performance last month, Johnson said the former champion is proof that Bellator is home to some of the best fighters on the planet.
“Look at my guy, my teammate Michael Chandler went over there and destroyed Dan Hooker,” Johnson exclaimed. “Smoked him. But I knew that was coming. I’m like, y’all don’t realise how dangerous Michael Chandler is. And even though he came from a smaller promotion, he’s still an elite fighter. He wasn’t there being the champ and fighting the best of the best for no reason. He went to war with Eddie Alvarez and to me, Eddie Alvarez is for sure the greatest fighter ever in my opinion because he’s been to every organisation and won the title. People don’t give that man credit.
“I also see that fans are now starting to understand that you don’t have to be just a UFC fighter to be successful and be able to feed your family and be something. So don’t be afraid to go outside of the box if there’s other things out there you want to be able to do in other promotions, go for it. Try it out. And I think Bellator for me was the right move.”
Do you agree with Anthony Johnson that Bellator is on par with the UFC?